Well-known ESPN scribe Bill Simmons has come out with one of his most anticipated columns of each year, his ranking of the 40 NBA players with the highest “trade value.”
Simmons puts five players above the rest of the NBA in terms of their overall value: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James. The biggest surprise is probably Durant, who has yet to play in an NBA playoff game and is still only 21 years old. While Durant may lack experience, his credentials speak for themselves. The Thunder have become a contender in the West, and Durant is well on his way to being one of the best scorers ever. If LeBron James did not exist, Durant would likely be the front-runner for the MVP award at this point in the season.
Just missing the “completely untouchable” designation are Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. This represents a move upward for Anthony, and a move in the other direction for CP3. Anthony has carried the Nuggets this season, and seems to have become a complete player. Paul was having another of the best statistical seasons ever, but injuries and a weak supporting cast have caused him to slip from the NBA’s highest circle. Over the next few years, it will be interesting to see if Durant can retain his lofty status, and who else will be joining him as one of the NBA’s true untouchables.